Sign of the Holidays

The light-write billboard on the Parkway that recently held “Go Rutgers!” up to a backdrop of brilliant yellow maple leaves now reads “Manhattan Gridlock Alert / Use Public Transportation.” This, every day, against a bramble of bare sticks. The Parkway Authority might want to think about planting a nice painted sign of permanent gridlock alert. As it is, though, this changeable sign serves the purpose of reminding me that the holidays are here and that the Parkway has given up on Rutgers.

The chemical industry’s star-studded New York Holiday Shindig Week starts Monday, so I’ll be publicly transported into the gird a couple of times at least. It’s the usual routine, starting with the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association* dinner on Monday night with entertainment by Darrel Hammond of Saturday Night Live. Last year they had Kevin Nealon—once they had Al Franken! Then it’s Super Tuesday. I start with a breakfast interview with (get this) Bill Nye the Science Guy! Then, lunch with the Société de Chimie Industrielle boys at the Yale Club, at which some guy from my office is the guest speaker. Finally, there’s the famous Eggnog Dinner at the Chemists Club. There, Bill Nye holds forth.

On the home front, my job is to paint the play room in time for a holiday party next weekend. It’s an annual get-together with three old high school friends and their families that we call “Festivus.” The name stuck, lamely, when it was slapped on after a Seinfeld episode 12 years ago. It’s been going on for a long time, and now it includes a bunch of know-it-all college kids who hate it when their dads bust out the ukuleles. Boy-oh-boy has college changed!

I just finished hanging the lights on our storm gutters, and I have a plan that will expedite the renovation of the play room as we swing into another holiday. Tomorrow, a tree will be dragged indoors.

And Last night, Lydia, my seven-year-old, and I read a nice little book that tells the story of St. Nicholas with an introduction by Pat Boone. Did you know that he’s not only the patron saint of marriageable women, but also of sailors at sea? …St. Nicholas, that is?

Froeliche Schlokheit!
Rick

*A chemical can, in fact, be both synthetic and organic—a Russian lady-cab driver in Vegas called me out on this once when SOCMA had its convention there. “Can chem-yee-kil be both syeen-tetic ant or-gyan-yic?” she asked me, ending a lull in our conversation at a red light under the Carrot Top billboard. “Yeah,” I answered, “….absolutely.” It was a fair question.

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13 Responses to “Sign of the Holidays”

  1. mrschili Says:

    Is there a patron saint for UNmarriagable women?

    Sounds like you’ve got a busy week! I’ve heard that Bill Nye is kind of a jerk – tell me if that’s true.

    We were going to get a tree today, but Husband convinced me, much to my and my girls’ disappointment, that it would be prudent to wait another week to procure our christmas tree. We’re having the holiday shin-dig at our place this year, and he wants to make sure the tree is still hanging on to a reasonable number of its needles when the guests arrive. He’s got a point – and he’s also got a shite-load of work to do in the basement in preparation for the installation of a heating system (BOUT TIME!), so I’m willing to cut him some slack. I’m just hoping next weekend’s weather is similar to what we’ve got here this weekend – I HATE tree huntin’ in the stupid cold…. or worse, the mud!

  2. Todd Says:

    I got out the creaky old wooden ladder and did our lights along the gutter late this afternooon. The inflatable Santas, Grinches, snow globes and Snowmen seem to be taking over around the neighborhood. One house has Santa dancing in what looks much like an upright coffin on a lawn spray painted white among other holiday ornaments. Ah, slob art!

    Gotta love those Russian cabbies in Vegas asking the tough questions.

  3. kenju Says:

    Oh, I hope Bill Nye isn’t a jerk! I have been a fan of his for years, so say hello for me, please?

  4. Rick Says:

    My man Ivan at The Show tells me, from experience, that the way to get to Nye is by talking to him about his brother. I don’t know. I plan to just roll him like I do most players.

  5. Tata Says:

    I feel Bill Nye needs a suit covered with exclamation points, asterisks, tildes and ampersands. That way, he always looks like he’s swearing.

    Oh wait. I mean me.

  6. Sam Smith Says:

    You could ask Nye about his father in law, who died last week. He was a very distinguished historian and here is the obituary in the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/08/obituaries/08tindall.html?ex=1323234000&en=7fde5e6ab72459ca&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

    They had just gotten married, so it was nice that it happened before her father died. That would probably be a nice, sentimental approach to ask about iit; he must be proud to be related. Have fun, what a great opportunity.

  7. Carmi Says:

    I think I need to hang out with you mor often. Your interviewees sound infinitely more interesting than mine!

  8. Carmi Says:

    And I also think I need to proof my lousy Sunday-night typing before I hit the Submit Comment button.

    Time to shut this laptop down, I guess.

  9. Brent Bell Says:

    I only just realized that Bill Nye married into George Tindall’s family! He was my professor in 1977, and he also loved to wear perfect bowties like Bill Nye.

  10. Rick Says:

    Thanks for the heads-up, Sam.

    I find on Wikipedia, sadly, that the Nye/ Tindal wedding lasted seven weeks! He announced the engagement on the Craig Ferguson show last year. She announced the break-up on the David Lawrence radio show in Los Angeles.

    What did journalists do before blogs and Wikipedia?

  11. Brent Bell Says:

    That’s too bad! They are a wonderful family, a huge asset to the community and university. Wonder what possibly could’ve happened? They sure had their share of sadness this year then.

  12. colleen Says:

    I hope you’ll post photos of the party room (what color?) and something about Darrel Hammond. I don’t guess this is the same event where George Bush the father spoke last year. It was sad but understandable watching him break down recently. Does Darrel do George?

  13. Alex Says:

    Thank You

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